Who Was Hiram Abiff?

Hiram Abiff, we know, was a widow’s son. He was the son of a man of Tyre, but his
mother was an Israelite, said in one record to have been of the tribe of Napthtal, and
in another, of the “daughters of Dan.”

His mother was indeed a native of the tribe of Dan, but her first husband was of the
tribe of Napthtali, to whom Hiram was probably born. After the death of the first
husband, she then married a man of Tyre, and her son was brought up as a Tyrian and
fully educated and trained in the arts of that land. Tyre was one of the principal seats
of the Dionysiac fraternity of artificers, a Society engaged exclusively in the
construction of edifices and united in a secret organization, subsequently imitated by
the Operative Masons of the Temple. Hiram Abiff was quite probably a member of
this organization, and learned much from this privilege. In assuming his work at
Jerusalem, he introduced among the workmen the same exact system of discipline
that he had found so advantageous in the Dionysiac Secret Society. From this secret
society of operative masons there was evolved the Order of Speculative Masons, of
which Hiram Abiff was the first Grand Master.

His mother, being a Daughter of Dan, the fifth son of Jacob, endowed Hiram with
characteristics of this tribe. This tribe was said to be bold, courageous, daring and
cunning. The banner of Dan was blue. This may bean origin for the choice of blue as
a Masonic color.

In Chronicles, Chapter 2, verses 13 & 14, Hiram King of Tyre tells Solomon about
the man he has sent to oversee the work of the Temple:

“And now I have sent a cunning man, endued with understanding, of Huram my
father’s, the son of a woman of the daughters of Dan, and his father was a man of
Tyre, skillful to work in gold, and in silver, in brass, in iron, in stone, and in timber, in
purple, in blue, and in fine linen, and in crimson; also to grave any manner of graving,
and to find out every device in which shall be put to him, with thy cunning men, and
with the cunning men of my lord David thy father.”

Obviously a good man to supervise the construction of a building containing all those
materials and to manage all the workers.

It appears that Napthtali was also the fifth son of Jacob. The Lord, in Deuteronomy
33:23, says “0 Napthtali, satisfied with favor, and full with the blessing of the Lord,
Possess thou the west and the south.” In the same Chapter, the Lord refers to Dan as
“a lion’s whelp.”

All of this together, shows us that our character Hiram Abiff, is a wrapping of many
Masonic symbols and characteristics. He inherits possession of the west and south,
descended from the tribe that possessed the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (a symbolic
reference to Christ) and possesses skills critical to the mastery of his craft. The
mystery of who he is still remains, for while there are references to Hiram in his
character as a craftsman, there is no Biblical reference to the name Abiff which is
uniquely Masonic.

About leader

District Deputy Grand Master Saratoga-Warren District 1998-2000; Grand Lodge Leadership Services Committee; Leadership Development Course Coordinator; Vice Chairman Grand Master's Educational Task Force; Vice Chairman Grand Lodge Child ID Committee; District Deputy Grand High Priest 14th Capitular District; Grand Master of the 1st Veil 2010; Grand Master 2nd Veil 2011; Grand Master 3rd Veil 2012 Grand Royal Arch Captain 2013 Grand Principal Sojourner 2014 Grand Captain of the Host 2015 Warren County Historical Society Board of Trustees; Queensbury Masonic Historical Society Charter Member; State Chairman Lodges & Buildings Committee Deputy Grand Master's Advisory Committee
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